A web writing tip to dramatically improve your website content (hint: it’s easy!)
One of the best web writing tips I can give you is to read your website content out loud. Before you dismiss the idea as being too basic, check out three critical ways it can improve your web copy.
#1: Reading your website content out loud is a great way to ensure your copy is conversational and makes sense to your users.
I recently listened to a podcast from Conversion Rate Experts (or CRE, for short). CRE is a company that works with high profile brands, such as Google, Apple, Facebook and GE. They advise their clients on how to get more people to take action on websites, such as buying a product or requesting pricing.
CRE highly recommends that you ask people to read your website content out loud — and then listen — as those people say your words.
Dr. Karl Blanks, the company’s chairman, explains, “What you need to listen for is, as they’re speaking, where do they get confused? Where do they pause? Where do they hesitate? Where do they actually read something wrongly? That’s really valuable.”
If you find that your company is often guilty of what I call “corporate speak” — in other words, stringing a lot of fancy words together that don’t always make the most sense — this may be a good way to demonstrate to your executives that your website content isn’t as user-friendly and effective as it should be.
#2: When you read your web copy out loud, you get a fresh perspective on the tone.
I have a new corporate client, and coincidentally, they read their website content aloud as well. They’ve found that this technique is a great way to ensure the tone of their message is right.
From a branding perspective, we’re positioning this company against traditional companies in their industry. But in creating that contrast, we have to be careful not to come across as too negative or adversarial. We want to position the company as a positive and likeable alternative to everybody else.
By asking people on their team to read their website content out loud, we’ve been able to identify a few places where the tone could be misinterpreted as too negative. With that insight and just a few tweaks, I was able to get the uplifting tone they wanted.
#3: Reading your website content out loud is a useful proofreading technique too.
When you proofread your website content in your head, it’s easy to start skimming the text and missing errors. However, when you slowly and deliberately say each word out loud, you can identify a lot of those goofs.
Here’s an example:
“They’re stepping into new roles, but they should have same benefits available to them.”
In a quick proofread, all may look well, particularly if you’ve already seen this sentence multiple times.
But when you deliberately read this web copy out loud, you’re more likely to catch that there’s a word missing before the phrase, “same benefits.” We’re missing the word: “the.”
If your website content has gone through a lot of drafts, I highly recommend this proofreading technique. It’s a great way to get out of the comfort zone you may have fallen into with your web copy.
For best results, though, ask someone who hasn’t reviewed your copy to do your proofreading, including reading your text out loud. This will help ensure you’re getting a fresh and objective perspective.
Looking for more web writing tips?
Here are other useful tips to improve your web writing:
- Don’t let internal language keep you from writing good web content
- How to be a better web writer with three simple tips
- Why to avoid marketing cliches in your website content
- Five ways to instantly improve your web content
Could your company benefit from a Denver web writer? Please explore my strategic copywriting services.
Until next time!